‘Daredevil: Born Again’ Explained: What We Might See In Marvel’s Revival

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daredevil charlie cox

Credit: Netflix

It was with a fair amount of surprise that fans were treated to the announcement by Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios of a brand-new, 18-episode season of Drew Goddard-helmed Daredevil (2015) at the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2022. Continuing on (in some form) from their much-loved and critically adored Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) canon Netflix show, the new iteration of Daredevil will now be exclusive to Disney+ and be titled Daredevil: Born Again.

Daredevil season four
Credit: Marvel Studios

With that exciting announcement came the knowledge that Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio are set to return, reprising their roles as blind lawyer-turned superhero Matt Murdock AKA Daredevil, and mega crime boss Wilson Fisk AKA the Kingpin, respectively.

This time, we’re expecting a bit of a soft reboot for the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, with the key phrase in mind being “Born Again” — but now some important questions naturally come to mind. What might “Born Again” mean for both the series and the character of Daredevil? What hints can we take from the Marvel comics themselves? And where could the Marvel Cinematic Universe be headed with this fresh revival of the older, almost cult-status show?

Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock
Credit: Marvel Studios / Netflix

Daredevil in the MCU so far

After the Walt Disney Company announced that they were going to be establishing their own streaming service (and Netflix rival), Disney+, it was only a matter of time before Netflix’s series of Marvel Studios shows, such as Daredevil, Luke Cage (2016) with Mike Colter (Luke Cage), Iron Fist (2017) with Finn Jones (Danny Rand/Iron Fist), and Jessica Jones (2015) starring Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones) within The Defenders (2017) continuity would either be axed or ported over to the new Disney+ service.

(L-R) Mike Colter as Luke Cage, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Rosaria Dawson as Claire Temple AKA Night Nurse, Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock AKA Daredevil, Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing in Netflix's 'Defenders'
Credit: Marvel Studios / Netflix

Related: Disney+ Has Changed the Name of One ‘Daredevil’ Universe Series Ahead of Expected Reboot

The latest Daredevil season, season three which aired in 2018, gave us a whole new insight into the character of Matt Murdock — the blind lawyer with uncannily heightened other senses — who had been left mourning the loss of his on-again, off-again lover and series anti-hero, Elektra Natchios (Élodie Yung) after the events of The Defenders, while his best friends, a fellow lawyer at Nelson and Murdock, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and firm paralegal Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) similarly mourned his (supposed) death.

Daredevil/Matt Murdock fighting Kingpin in S3 of Daredevil
Credit: Marvel Studios / Netflix

The end of Daredevil season three saw the most intense storyline yet for the superhero, culminating in a violent showdown between Benjamin “Dex” Poindexter or Bullseye (Wilson Bethel), Matt Murdock, and Wilson Fisk.

In the end, the love of Kingpin’s life, wife Vanessa Fisk finally got put away, as did Wilson Fisk himself, and ex-FBI Special Agent Dex was shown getting operated on by one Kenji Oyama, or Lord Dark Wind, a “Daredevil” comic book villain. Oyama is depicted performing a spinal operation on Bullseye, using the (MCU’s Adamantium replacement), Cogmium — and as the camera pans down below the operating table, we see Dex’s eyes fly open, showing off concentric rings in his pupils that look similar to Bullseye’s iconic comic book symbol.

Dex Bullseye getting spine operation Daredevil Season 3 post credit scene
Credit: Marvel Studios / Netflix

On the side of the good guys, Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson, and Karen Page were depicted finally reunited, this time with a new bar napkin in hand bearing their future law firm’s name: “Nelson, Murdock & Page” — signaling a return to form and (hopefully) brighter days ahead for the friends and “avocados at law”.

Needless to say, a Netflix Daredevil season four did not happen.

Daredevil Season 3 Foggy Nelson Holding Up New Napkin Reading Nelson Murdock and Page
Credit: Marvel Studios / Netflix

The Origins of Daredevil: Born Again

What happened in the Daredevil: Born Again Marvel comics?

Now, the Daredevil: Born Again story arc from the Marvel comics was dark.

A brief warning for mentions of drugs, violence, and murder.

Daredevil Born Again cover Marvel Comics
Credit: Marvel Comics

Written by Frank Miller and drawn by David Mazzucchelli, the “Born Again” series was first published in 1986. In the story, the character of Matt Murdock is seemingly, irretrievably broken and driven to insanity. He is “betrayed” by firm secretary and ex-girlfriend Karen Page, who quits Nelson and Murdock and leaves New York to become an actor — and subsequently gets addicted to heroin.

In order to get her next fix, Karen Page sells Daredevil’s secret identity as Matt Murdock — which eventually gets sold further up the food chain, finally reaching the ears of villain and crime boss, Wilson Fisk, who then uses his connections and power as the Kingpin to orchestrate Matt Murdock‘s (and the Daredevil’s) descent. Framed, shamed, and ousted from his former life by Kingpin’s clever machinations within the New York City police, Matt Murdock becomes homeless and turns paranoid and aggressive, plagued by Kingpin’s men — as Fisk himself similarly descends into an obsession to kill Murdock and turn the Daredevil’s life into a living hell.

Daredevil Born Again Matt Murdock in anguish over suit
Credit: Marvel Comics

Matt Murdock attempts to confront the Kingpin and gets violently beaten and left to die in the East River, escaping to drag himself to his father’s boxing gym, where he is found and nursed back to health by his mother, now Sister Maggie, who has become a nun at a Catholic church.

Sister Maggie Church Daredevil Born Again Marvel Comics Cover
Credit: Marvel Comics

Karen Page eventually arrives back in New York, finally confessing her sins to Matt Murdock, who finally helps her through heroin withdrawal, working as a diner chef (yes, you read that right) to make ends meet. Simultaneously, Wilson Fisk recruits American super soldier Nuke to dress up as Daredevil and kill Matt’s best friend Foggy Nelson to draw the real Daredevil out — a plan eventually foiled by Murdock. Fisk then orders Nuke to open fire on civilians in Hell’s Kitchen, and Matt is finally forced to don the Daredevil suit again to defeat Nuke — which of course, he does.

Daredevil Born Again Avengers Iron Man and Captain America stop Nuke
Credit: Marvel Comics

Finally, the Avengers step in to take custody of Nuke — who Captain America takes great interest in, discovering that he was an attempt at recreating “Project: Rebirth” — the very project that gave Steve Rogers his superpowers.

Kingpin tries to tie up loose ends again, by hiring hitmen to kill Nuke — who ultimately reveals to the good guys (and the world) that Kingpin is behind the hit — thus finally ruining Wilson Fisk‘s public image as an upstanding businessman, and his position among the crime syndicate. Fisk is left vowing revenge on Daredevil, as Matt Murdock vows to continue fighting for justice in Hell’s Kitchen.

Daredevil Born Again comics Matt Murdock angry
Credit: Marvel Comics

What’s Next for MCU’s Daredevil

What can we expect from Disney+’s Daredevil: Born Again?

Anyone who’s watched Daredevil season three ought to have already noticed some very clear connections with the Frank Miller-penned “Born Againstory arc from the Marvel comics — which is often considered one of the best if not the best Daredevil story out there.

First of all, it’s evident that the “angry, beaten and broken Daredevil” trope frequently recurs in both the Netflix Daredevil show and the “Born Again” comics — because season three was clearly already based on “Born Again“. From Sister Maggie nursing Daredevil back to health to Karen Page and Foggy Nelson significantly getting in the crosshairs, to government bodies being in cahoots with Fisk, to Matt Murdock refusing to don the iconic red suit until the very end — even Daredevil dragging himself out of the river.

Netflix's Daredevil
Credit: Netflix

Related: Marvel Confirms When ‘Daredevil,’ ‘Punisher’ and More Netflix Series Hitting Disney+

The central themes of revenge, betrayal, redemption, rebirth, confession, and forgiveness ring true between both iterations of the Daredevil tale — so now this leaves audiences with the biggest question of all — where could Disney+’s version of Daredevil: Born Again take the character if so much of the essential story has already been addressed before?

What is Daredevil: Born Again going to be about?

It’s perhaps important to remind ourselves of where Daredevil’s villains currently stand within the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline, to get an idea of who might face up against Matt Murdock and Co.

Kingpin/Wilson Fisk
Credit: Marvel Studios

Wilson Fisk‘s current exploits remain unknown, but considering he turned up as the ultimate Big Bad pulling the strings in Disney+ Original, Hawkeye (2021), we know he was stirring up trouble before Hawkeye. He was seemingly “defeated” at the hands of Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner/Hawkeye) — although dedicated Marvel and Daredevil fans ought to know that it never is as simple as it seems with the Kingpin. And with Vincent D’Onofrio signing on for Daredevil: Born Again, we’re definitely not seeing the last of the French-omelet-loving crime boss.

vincent d'onofrio as wilson fisk AKA kingpin in daredevil
Credit: Marvel Studios / Netflix

However, one thing remains entirely open to fan speculation — whether Fisk got snapped away by Thanos (Josh Brolin) at the end of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and what exactly he’s managed to do in the ensuing chaos of a “post-snap” world. Perhaps in the new Born Again, Disney+ goes dark with Fisk succeeding at hiring someone and (god forbid!) killing off Foggy Nelson and Karen Page — leaving Matt Murdock enraged and even hungrier for revenge. Considering we haven’t heard official word yet that Henson or Woll are returning to the MCU, it’s a plausible (though painful) way for Marvel Studios to “rebirth” Matt Murdock’s Daredevil, primed to fight and with no remaining ties (sound a bit like a certain web-slinger?), ready for the events of MCU Phase Five and Six.

MCU Punisher and Daredevil
Credit: Marvel Studios / Netflix

In the Marvel comics, Kenji Oyama also hires Bullseye as a personal assassin — which definitely falls in line with Daredevil season three’s Bullseye tease with Dex’s likely newly Cogmium-enhanced body. Jon Bernthal‘s Frank Castle/Punisher is also another anti-hero-type, and hitman-for-hire running around out there.

Alternatively, if Marvel Studios decides to double down on the Nuke, “Project: Rebirth” and Captain America ties, we could even potentially see a return of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)’s most-despised “evil Cap”, John Walker (Wyatt Russell), now going by the name U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell). This would begin to tie the MCU Disney+ Originals together in a more meaningful way, and begin the MCU and Spidey-helmed “street-level” team that Feige mentioned previously.

Charlie Cox as Daredevil
Credit: Marvel Studios

Another big point of speculation would be the tease of Daredevil’s yellow suit from the comics making an appearance in Born Again, which allows us to question if there’s a reason for the change — especially considering he had left his handy dandy suit-maker Melvin Potter (Matt Gerald) to be taken into custody by a SWAT team, last we heard.

So, where did Charlie Cox‘s Matt Murdock get this yellow suit? Why would he use this suit in the first place?

Matt Murdock catches brick in Spider-Man No Way Home
Credit: Marvel Studios

We know that he’s been back to the “side of light” AKA lawyering, at least until the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), when he defended Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man (in more ways than one), catching a brick headed for Parker’s head before even he could, Spidey-sense (the “Peter-Tingle”) and all. What we don’t know is whether he’s still definitively working for Nelson, Murdock and Page, as the brief cameo showed Matt on the phone with someone, but not actually introducing himself as a representative of the firm.

Daredevil Yellow Suit in She-Hulk trailer
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: ‘She-Hulk’ Trailer Full of Lies, Gaslights Fans with “Fake” Daredevil

Ultimately, we can only make educated guesses. Fans are going to have to keep their ears peeled for more official announcements, or simply tune into Disney+ when the time comes. Right now, Matt Murdock as Daredevil has been potentially spotted in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022)’s trailer — which makes a lot of sense as a fellow “crime-fighting lawyer” to Tatiana Maslany’s Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk.

Marvel fans will probably have to expect a significant retooling of the Netflix version — so let’s just hope that this new Marvel Studios take lives up to Drew Goddard’s vision of the Man Without Fear, and portrays the same seat-gripping action, stellar acting, and unabashedly darker themes that the original series did.

daredevil
Credit: Netflix

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